In the Photographers’ Studios (6)

From time to time, spanking enthusiasts complain that commercial spanking sites predominantly offer F/F scenes, even though it is widely believed that the most popular orientation is M/F. But this is one case where the economics of the business usually trump the wishes of the consumer. If the central interest of a spanking photograph is the girl on the receiving end, then, given that you have to hire two models, two girls are better value than a man and girl, because the girls can switch. It has been ever thus, in general pin-up photography as well as in specialist spanking material: the legendary sleaze photographer Irving Klaw took a multitude of shots of Bettie Page spanking other women and being spanked by them, but is there even a single picture showing her across a man’s knee?

The phenomenon is illustrated by the photographers in this bumper installment of the series. The first is Riley Kern, who is based in Orange County and Los Angeles. Her work features regularly on magazine covers and she has a particular interest in photographing fighters, but she also shoots a lot of retro material, often in the ‘Bettie Page’ style.

Let’s meet her first two models. Gina Georgette is a rockabilly singer as well as a pin-up model:

01 Gina Georgette

And Kim Falcon also works as a marketer:

02 Kim Falcon03 Kim Falcon port

And with a rear view like that, maybe the temptation was just too much for Gina:

04 Riley Kern

But retribution swiftly followed:

05 Riley Kern 2

For me, the weakness of this subtly lit and distinctively shot photo lies in the fact that Gina’s feet haven’t left the ground: she’s not fully under Kim’s control and could get up and walk away if she really had a mind to it. We’ll return to the issue of positioning later on, but it won’t be a problem with Riley’s other foray into spanking.

Once again, let’s first meet the models. Here’s Lourdes Dodds, who is also, as you might have guessed, a tattoo artist.

06 Lourdes Dodds P

Here’s Sarah West:

07 Sarah West 208 Sarah West

And here’s what Lourdes did to Sarah on April 10, 2009:

09 riley kern110 Riley Kern

Some issues are starting to emerge now, which we’ll punctuate with some more photos in the same style, but of unknown origin.

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Why are the girls wearing only their underwear?

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Why exactly is the spanking taking place?

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How does one not obviously muscular girl take across her knee another girl who’s of similar size or even bigger?

These are all, quite simply, the wrong questions to be asking. The ‘Bettie Page spanking shot’ is effectively a distinct genre, with recurring elements and its own operating principles, and it doesn’t do to apply real-life logic too rigorously. You don’t watch a thriller and ask why it is that the cop car always finds somewhere to park right next to the bank that’s just been heisted: it’s just a genre convention that lets the movie get on with its real business, irrespective of what would happen in the real world. Likewise, you don’t look at a ‘Bettie Page spanking shot’, either a 1950s Klaw original or one by a modern exponent of the genre, and wonder how and why the girls come to be doing what they are doing, dressed as they are. The real reason, of course, is that the content of the photo is dictated by outside considerations: the girls are in their underwear because there are guys out there who like looking at girls in their underwear, and one of the girls is getting spanked by the other because those guys also like seeing girls get spanked. The point of the photo lies in what they are doing, irrespective of how and why they might be doing it.

As I said earlier, a switch of roles during the shoot may add variety. Sometimes, contrary to what I’ve just said, the practicalities even seem to be thought through just a little. Here’s a turnabout sequence from Angelize Photography of Sacramento, California, taken on July 12, 2009. The photographer’s professional name is Angel Coma, and she’s mainly interested in shooting dark, eerie and kitsch subjects. I’m guessing that what Carma is doing to Mischa here comes under the heading of kitsch:

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Now it’s Mischa’s turn, but the photographer and models have cunningly sidestepped the issue of whether she would really want, or be able, to sit down to the task:

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Baltimore-based Atomic Cheesecake Studios, whose photographer is Stacey Barich, seem to have had the same idea. Stacey specializes in pin-up work, often recreating the concepts and poses of the classic pin-up artists of the 1940s and 50s, and all of her models are unpaid amateurs. So let’s hope these girls, doing a shoot on August 22, 2008, are enjoying themselves!

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In each of those examples, for my money, the first of the pair is much more attractive than the second … but then I’m an OTK purist. Maybe that’s why I never found the original Bettie Page spanking photos as appealing as I ought to have done. One of the problems I always had with them is poor positioning, which now regularly crops up in modern versions too. Take this British example by Stanwick-based Steve Smith, with Victoria Plum spanking Betty Havoc:

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Or this one by Mike Saffels of Burbank, California, featuring redhead Lucy O’Doll only three quarters across the lap of blonde Katherine Knox in a shot from a series called ‘Mashup at Wonderland’, referring to the firm that made the corset:

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Or this, by Michael Enoches of Kearny, New Jersey, with unknown models but explicitly entitled a ‘Bettie Page Tribute':

Michael Enoches Photography 10321504_857506327597671_4849545890927474682_o

Or this one, of unknown origin, which is a rarity in that the spanked Bettie impersonator isn’t wearing black panties:

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My point is not that these are bad photographs. Technically speaking, they are good photographs, and they are also good ‘Bettie Page photographs’ in that they catch some of the distinctive, recurring oddities of the Bettie Page OTK pose. And that makes them, regrettably, bad spanking photographs. But that’s nothing for the photographers to feel ashamed of – it’s probably not what they were aiming for anyway!

Yet the OTK positioning isn’t uniformly poor in this genre. Here’s a well posed example by Jessica Evans of Breda in the Netherlands. It belongs to a series entitled ‘Being Bettie’ that she shot in 2011 for the first issue of Et Alors?, the Dutch gay magazine, and it was the picture given the honor of the center pages:

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Scissor legs, all four limbs off the floor, and a look of consternation on her face: the model who’s being Bettie, Dena Massque, has really done us proud. (The other model, incidentally, is called Rachael V.)

The best way to see the hit-or-miss nature of the Bettie Page spanking genre, however, is to look at a whole run of spanking shots by a single photographer from a single shoot for a single series. And so the spotlight falls on Patrick Coddington, who works out of Tacoma up in Washington state, and who did a ‘Bettie Page spanking’ shoot on August 17, 2011, for the debut issue of the Seattle fetish magazine Poisoned Apple:

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(OK, OK, they called it a ‘bondage catfight’, but it’s the spanking that interests us!)

Let’s meet the models. First there’s Rikki Ratchet, who calls herself ‘the pin-up pixie’. In the shoot, she’ll be wearing the blonde wig you see in the third picture.

24 Rikki Ratchet25 Rikki Ratchet25a Rikki Ratchet

And the owner of the black pantied bottom you’ve already been admiring is, as the magazine cover says, Melanie Lacy:

26 Melanie Lacy27 Melanie Lacy28 Melanie Lacy

This is another turnabout sequence, but this time neither girl seems to have any trouble sitting down to put the other across her lap. Who knows, maybe Rikki just isn’t a very efficient spanker. You might not think so from that lovely expression on Melanie’s face (great work, Melanie!), but on the other hand, for a sustained seat-warming session the OTK positioning here could hardly be worse!

29 Coddington30 Coddington

But it’s astonishing to see how, when it comes to Rikki’s turn in the prone position, the same photographer and the same models can go from something so inept to something that’s really rather sublime…

31 Coddington

…only to drift back into the second-rate as Rikki’s spanking continues:

32 Coddington

Maybe Rikki’s right arm got tired … after all, she had previously been using it for spanking!

So from a spanking point of view, it’s an erratic, inconsistent shoot, weak and strong by turns. But that’s really not the fault of Patrick Coddington or his models. If Irving Klaw had been a better spanking photographer, and if he’d set a better example for his latter-day followers, I suspect we’d all have a lot more material to be happy about. As it is, we’ve got good technical photography, but content that doesn’t always hit the mark.

But although I’ve been quite critical of the genre and its limitations, I have to end by repeating that these are all excellent and talented photographers. If you are interested in their work, please visit their websites: Riley Kern, Angelize, Atomic Cheesecake, Steve Smith, Mike Saffels , Michael Enoches and Jessica Evans. (Patrick Coddington does not appear to have a website.)

It’s Never Too Late

The comedy It’s Never Too Late, by Felicity Douglas (1910-92), could be described as a cross between Shirley Valentine and Dear Octopus with added spanking. The story is all about Laura Hammond, a woman who is taken for granted by her self-centered family, but is secretly a successful novelist, and what happens when she gets a job as a screenwriter in Hollywood and leaves them behind to fend for themselves. But our main interest is in two members of that family: John, her stepson, and his ‘over-domesticated’ wife Anne, who will never go out because it would mean leaving her babies.

Anne’s maternal attentiveness irritates John, and in the second scene of the play it escalates into a flaming row. Laura has agreed to pay for them to have a holiday in Paris so that Anne can have a break, but Anne is ungrateful and thinks it’s all a plot to separate her from her adored offspring. John calls her a ‘hysterical, humorless little fool’, and Anne tells him he’d better go on holiday with one of his office secretaries instead. When he says he probably shall, he gets his face slapped hard. He dares her to do it again and she does, then for good measure throws a vase at him. And then, says the script:

John seizes her, picks her up, sits, puts her across his knee and spanks her. She screams and kicks. He deposits her on the sofa and strides to the door. She is sobbing violently.

Then Anne runs out, and Laura is the one left to sweep up the shattered vase.

And that’s it. The spanking isn’t a vital part of the story: it’s not the key event that brings the errant female to her senses, as in Fools Rush In, nor the administration of her just deserts after a play’s worth of misbehavior. It’s just a bit of the exposition that helps to illustrate what a difficult family Laura has to cope with, and why she decides to leave…

Unusually, the play began life in the provinces among the offerings of a local repertory company, the Civic Players at Chesterfield Civic Theatre, where it opened on September 22, 1952. The director was Chloe Gibson, whose main claim to fame was ‘discovering’ Dirk Bogarde; John was played by William Lucas, now best remembered as the father in The Adventures of Black Beauty, and Anne was Margaret Tyzack, who later played impatient battleaxes on television, including Claudius’ mother in I, Claudius:

Margaret Tyzack Claudius

In that photo she’s playing younger than by then she was, but here she is closer to how she looked back when she got spanked at Chesterfield:

Margaret Tyzack

The production was successful enough for Chloe Gibson to take the play down to London for a week’s tryout at the ‘Q’, a small independent theater in Kew that specialized in first runs of plays that were either too experimental for commercial production or needed testing out before they were pitched to the West End. The problem was that the original actors were all still under contract at Chesterfield, so when the new production opened on November 18, it was with a new cast. John was now played by Peter Martyn, who became a television game show host a few years later but then died young. And here’s a picture of the new Anne being spanked…

Elizabeth Henson

… but not in It’s Never Too Late. The new actress was an OTK veteran: Elizabeth Henson, who was spanked three years earlier in the film version of The Girl Who Couldn’t Quite, which we shall encounter again later in this series.

After the ‘Q’ production, there was an eighteen-month wait for It’s Never Too Late before it was picked up for the West End. This third version, directed by the former actress Joan Swinstead, opened on May 17, 1954, for a pre-London run at the Wimbledon Theatre, followed by a week in Brighton, before opening at the Westminster Theatre on June 3. Again there was a new cast: John was Gordon Whiting, and Anne was Jessica Dunning. Here they are together, long after the spanking scene, at the end of the play:

INTL 2

And for a better look at Jessica, here she is in the opening scene with the rest of the female cast, top right, sitting on the arm of the very sofa where she will soon be getting spanked:

INTL 1

This was the production that made the play, and a lot of that had to do with the casting of the great Celia Johnson, of Brief Encounter fame, to play Laura. (She’s the one standing center in the picture above.) The show ran for a month at the Westminster before transferring to the Strand Theatre on June 28, and continued there until November 20, followed by a 10-week post-London provincial tour in the spring of 1955. One performance was even televised from the theater by the BBC. It all adds up to a total run of 36 weeks, meaning that Jessica Dunning got a total of 216 spankings – plus matinees!

The play also had a long subsequent stage history. It was released for repertory production from the start of 1955, and proved immensely popular: there were 45 productions across the British Isles in that year alone. A 96-minute film version was made in 1956, with Richard Leech as John and Sarah Lawson as Anne…

Sarah Lawson 1

… but since the original play was two hours long, 24 minutes’ worth of material had to be cut, which was good news for Sarah Lawson’s bottom and bad news for us!

The script became available for amateur production in January 1956. One of the earliest groups to stage it was the Civic Players of Cheltenham, opening at the Playhouse Theatre on March 31. I don’t know the names of the cast, but here they are at a key moment:

It's Never Too Late

The play continued to appeal to amateur groups until at least the late 1970s; the latest production I have a note of was at Whitchurch in 1978. But there’s something of more direct interest to be seen eight years earlier and at the other end of England, in Gateshead, where the Progressive Players mounted their production. Here are Gordon Russell and Marie Small, perhaps being slightly less than progressive for the year 1970:

It's Never Too Late 1970

Back in 1956, the play also began to travel the world. Hans-Jurgen Ott adapted it into German, under the title Die Liebe Familie (The Beloved Family), and it was performed at the Kurfürstendamm, Berlin. It also went to Australia (Melbourne Little Theatre, April 1958), Sweden (Ostgota, September 1958, in a translation entitled Bättre sent än aldrig meaning, you guessed it, It’s Never Too Late) and New Zealand (Howick Little Theatre, Auckland, 1966).

But it’s German-speaking central Europe that has really taken the play to its heart for more than half a century. A heavily adapted film version was made in Austria in 1957, and more faithful television versions in 1962, with Heinz-Dieter Knaup and Sonja Hörbing as John and Anne respectively, and 1976, with Klaus Krüger and Viktoria Brams. It has continued to be popular with amateur groups in Germany, latterly also under the title Et ist nie zu spät (which is another  straight translation of the English original); there was a production in Hamburg as recently as October 2008. One may suspect that this is because Germans enjoy the play’s ultimate celebration of the values of ‘heimat’ and ‘familie’… but perhaps one may hope it’s also because they rather like stage spankings! And for more evidence of that, come back for next week’s entry in this series…

The Golden Rules

Ernest Greene canes Nina Hartley1 

Ernest Greene canes Nina Hartley

The Golden Rules of Porn used lots of cheesy old clips from the ‘Golden Age’ of porn (before the internet) to illustrate the various conventions and tropes of the genre. By far the most interesting clip though was filmed for the show and inserted during a section on sex toys and props.

Nina_hartley_db

Two experienced sexperts Ernest Greene and his porn actress wife Nina Hartley put on a brief caning demonstration. Hartley says that “when she got into the adult business, she was blessed with two popular fetish items: big, baby-blue eyes and that round butt with a high, small waist, with her buttocks becoming her trademark.'”

In the Photographer’s Studio (5)

I am not fond of fetish. When I look at a spanking photograph, I want to know the story. I want the sense of a plausible situation that led to the girl getting spanked, or at least a sense that the scene has its own internal logic as a work of art. If the spanker is wearing a hood, I want to know the reason for it, and I won’t find any satisfaction if the answer is that he and the girl are playing fetish games: that’s not what spanking is for! Dungeon settings are not my cup of tea unless there’s a genuine historical scenario in play, and I get little out of scenes featuring spanking implements and other props that only exist because they were created for sexual purposes. A bit like fetish spanking photos themselves, I guess…

What this means is that, to catch my attention at all, spanking photographs in the fetish genre have to meet a high standard in terms of the pose and the model’s performance: if they’ll never be my favorites, they may still be good spanking pictures in their own terms. And that’s where we introduce Nottingham-based Jonathan Hammond, who works as a photographer under the name Jonny Blaze. He specializes in erotica and fetish photography and tries to create dramatic images that draw viewers in and make them feel part of the situation. He has published two volumes of his fetish work, The Little Book of Fetish I and II.

He says he likes his models to have attitude. Here’s one who had maybe a bit more attitude than was good for her.

Blaze Photography

Her name’s Mini Miu, and she’s a Japanese model based in Amsterdam. Here’s some of her other work:

Blaze photo mini miuBlaze photo miniBlaze mini m

And this is what happened to her when she came to Nottingham:

Blaze Photography S2Blaze Photography S3Blaze Photography S4

That was on November 14, 2010, and the guy in the hood is male model Gary ‘Darkcell’ White. She was new to fetish work and quite in awe of it – and also rather cold, given the time of year and what she was wearing. But maybe not all of her stayed cold! Later on she was stunned to see her vulnerable fishnetted bottom on the front of a book: Jonny used that last spanking shot as the cover of the first Little Book of Fetish!

Blaze mini m unc

This wasn’t Jonny’s first venture into spanking photography. When he was at college, he did a pin-up shoot in the style of Bettie Page, with inevitable consequences for the prettier of the two models:

Blaze p art college

And that’s a genre we’ll be coming back to next time. Meanwhile, if you are interested in Jonny Blaze’s work, please visit his website.

Tease and Cake

Tease and Cake calls itself a ‘vintage inspired pin-up magazine’, which means it presents modern photographs in the classic pin-up style of the middle of the last century. Their photographer is Nicole Klein, whose company, The Hourglass, is based in Milton Keynes, England.

Birmingham-based pin-up model October DiVine did a shoot for them last July 4. ‘Guess what I’ve been up to today,’ she wrote, ‘shooting for Tease and Cake and getting my bottom spanked!!’

Tease and Cake 01 October DiVIne

Correction, October: you were only being smacked, not spanked!!

In fact, Tease and Cake does promise a ‘free naughty spanking with every issue’, though the photograph illustrating that promise may not be the best possible advertisement:

Tease and Cake 02

Never mind, in issue 8 there is a photo story loosely based on Red Riding Hood, who’s played by model Kristelle O’Chocolat. Here she is on other assignments:

Tease and Cake 03 Kristelle tease and cake 04 kristelle tease and Cake 05 Kristelle Tease and Cake 06 Kristelle tease and Cake 07 Kristelle Tease and Cake 09 Kristelle

When Kristelle goes down in the woods, she’s sure of a big surprise: not a wolf but a bear!

Tease and Cake 10

And he’s a bear who’s not best pleased to find Kristelle wandering about his backyard!

Tease and Cake 11

If you would like to see more of Kristelle’s spanking, and how she was eventually rescued from the bear, please visit the Tease and Cake website, where issue 8 is available for purchase, along with some back issues.

The Two Bells

On the day the Three Belles open their wartime fetish show London Life at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, we turn our attention to The Two Bells – or, more properly, Les Deux Cloches.

The play was first performed at the town of Mazères in the South of France on June 22, 2013, by an amateur group named Les Compagnons de la Cloche. After the performance they were invited to repeat the play at a nearby town in September 2013 – but I haven’t been able to find out precisely where.

Information about the play and the performers is very scarce: it was written by a local lady named Bernadette (surname unknown) and has not been published or widely reviewed. But what is clear is that it’s a period piece, and that one scene features a ‘mangeuse d’homme’ (man-eater) who tries to seduce an older man.

Mazeres 2013 ((0

She starts to strip off…

Mazeres 2013 ((1

… which proves to be a bad idea when the man’s wife turns up, whereupon ‘Les fesses de la “mangeuse d’homme” furent mises à rude épreuve’ (the ‘man-eater’s’ bottom was put roughly to the test):

Mazeres 2013 (1)Mazeres 2013 (2)Mazeres 2013 (3)

I’m starting to think that in France the usual rule of thumb that ‘nudity = not mainstream’ doesn’t apply in quite the same way, because, as you can see, the woman opens the slit in the girl’s bloomers to indicate that the spanking is administered on her bare bottom. Of course, what the audience can’t see, and the photographer can, is the actress’s striped panties!

Mazeres 2013 (4)

Applause, please, for Les Compagnons de la Cloche!

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